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Violin News & Gossip, Op. 2, No. 21

April 23, 2006 at 6:04 PM

While, strictly speaking, this is not violin or string news, it is impossible not to be saddened by the deaths of five singers, all graduate students at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, in a plane crash around midnight Thursday night.

The five were returning to Bloomington in a single-engine aircraft piloted by one of the students following a rehearsal 90 miles away when the aircraft suddenly disappeared from radar. The badly damaged craft was found by emergency crews about four hours later, upside down in dense woods. All five singers are believed to have died instantly, according to the coroner.

Some 700 people attended a memorial service Friday evening in Bloomington, and a previously scheduled performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony today will be dedicated to the singers.

The victims are Chris Carducci of Monroe, Mich.; Garth Eppley of Wabash, Ind.; Georgina Joshi of South Bend and the plane’s pilot; Zachary Novak of Anderson, Ind.; and Robert Samels of Medina, Ohio.

Musician News

4/21/06 – Many performers have broken strings during a performance, but Joshua Bell was blazing through the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra when his bridge moved. “While I was taking an up-bow, somehow my bow caught the bridge and sent it over about a centimeter on the violin, rendering it unplayable. I went offstage to try to put it back in place. It was sort of like an athlete having his dislocated shoulder put back right,” Bell told the Chicago Tribune afterward. “When I walked back onstage, I was really scared about what was going to come out. Even though the violin was responding differently, I actually felt more relaxed for the rest of the performance.”

Bell had been nearing the first-movement cadenza when the audience suddenly heard a loud “thwack.” He motioned for conductor David Zinman to stop the orchestra while he fixed the violin offstage.

The drama apparently didn’t hurt his performance, though, reports the Tribune: “Bell re-emerged a few minutes later to deliver a flawless account of the rest of the concerto, rich in expressive nuance, every familiar phrase emerging as if newly minted. The crowd, which had cheered him wildly after the first movement, was beside itself at the end.”

4/21/06 – Maxim Vengerov just received a favorable review from the New York Times for his performance of the Shostakovich A minor Violin Concerto: "Maxim Vengerov's powerful violin playing suited [the concerto] well. He sustained interest in the Passacaglia's drawn-out solo cadenza and simply overpowered the terribly difficult Scherzo and Burlesque."

4/21/06 - Violinist Mark O'Connor performed at the grand opening of the Youngstown Symphony’s new Eleanor Beecher Flad Pavilion with a performance in the Ford Family Recital Hall. The new recital hall and pavilion are part of the DeYor Performing Arts Center.

4/21/06 – This was Nicholas McGegan Day in San Francisco by declaration of Mayor Gavin Newsom. The honor recognizes McGegan's 20th anniversary at the helm of the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra. McGegan led the period instrument orchestra that same day in its debut at Davies Symphony Hall. McGegan will also be honored in a series of written tributes and an appearance by the consul general of Great Britain, the Honorable Martin Uden.

Mischa Santora, a violinist turned conductor, is profiled in the May issue of Minnesota Monthly magazine. Santora is associate conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra. The magazine notes that Santora originally studied violin at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, but a hand injury led him to conducting.

Orchestra News

4/20/06 - The National Endowment for the Arts announced its 2006 grants in the categories of Access to Artistic Excellence (Part Two), Learning in the Arts for Children and Youth, and Arts on Radio and Television. In this second round of Access grants, orchestras received 45 awards, totaling $744,000 in support for projects focused on touring, outreach, recordings, technology, and music appreciation. The Learning in the Arts for Children and Youth awards included 13 grants to orchestras, totaling $385,000 to support projects that take place in schools and community-based settings. Direct grants to orchestras in the category of Arts on Radio and Television were up this year, with five orchestras receiving grants totaling $250,000.

This is the second major wave of FY06 NEA Grants for Arts Projects. Final FY06 awards will be announced later this year in the category of Summer Schools in the Arts. Today's announcement, added to the NEA awards announced in December, 2005, brings total FY06 funding to orchestras in these major NEA grant categories to $2,562,000, and 111 awards. Awards to all arts disciplines through these three largest categories numbered 1,744 and totaled $37.8 million.

From Linda Lerskier
Posted on April 23, 2006 at 8:55 PM
I wonder if that's the concert Colleen heard...
From Maura Gerety
Posted on April 24, 2006 at 7:47 PM
Oh jeez that's terrible about the singers! :(

I did a similar thing to that JB-knocking-over-his-bridge thing in orchestra recently: overdid a down-bow, placed my bow back on the string in a hurry but caught the Ging with the tip and flipped it right off the bridge. Yikes! Thank goodness it was only a rehearsal!

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